March 17th

March 17th

St. Patrick is a patron of Ireland.  March 17th, the liturgical Feast of St. Patrick, occurs during the Lenten fast. Think about it.

And think about the potato (Solanum tuberosum; Gaelic “práta,” anglicized to “pratie“). Successful introduction of the New World crop bolstered the Irish countryside; the crop failures of the Potato Famine sent Irishmen to the USA, where the Irish-American secular observance of St. Patrick’s Day developed in Boston, New York and Chicago for a century before it was exported back to Ireland. Faith and Begorrah! “Globalization’ wasn’t invented yesterday.

Read Gregory McNamee’s excellent post on the Britannica blog, and stop by the Potato Museum on your way back from the pub.


“The fading of the green,” Drew DeSilver, Pew Research

“How Irish Are People Who Identify As ‘Irish-American’?” Walt Hickey, FiveThirtyEight

“How Corned Beef and Cabbage Became a Holiday Staple,” Craig Morris, USDA Blog

“No One Really Knows What a Shamrock Is,” Bess Lovejoy, Smithsonian Magazine



Sure, an’ all, wee Mr. Potato Head® is a registered trademark of Hasbro, Inc.,  used here under the “satire” provision of the Fair Use doctrine, dontcha know.  Mr. Head is a Yank “Baby Boomer,” but clean the paidrín up and he makes a proper little leprechaun.

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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